Facebook is often at the forefront of controversy for questionable judgement when it comes to sharing user data. And it seems they’re doing it again. In the past few months, there have been rumblings facial recognition was coming to the social network. In a surprising turn, the rumors implied Facebook would release the new feature in beta testing among a smaller group of users for feedback before making the determination to roll out the feature across the network. The rumblings were correct, but it appears Facebook was given too much credit.
In a blog post earlier today, Facebook announced face recognition would be integrated into tag suggestions for photos. While the blog post puts a happy face on profile scanning, boasting increased ease of use for those mass photo uploads, the important point here is that the feature is enabled by default.
Facebook offers up harmless examples like your cousin’s wedding or a laughter filled birthday party, where it can be burdensome to tag your friends in each and every photo. Let us ignore possibly embarrasing occassions of which you hoped the photos were burned or lost forever. If nothing else, parents may want to think twice before uploading photos of their children.
Facebook claims the feature will only be available between mutual friends. This means only those people already on your friends list will be able to recognize you with the improved tag suggestion. In such an interconnected world, where Facebook friends consist of life-long friends, business collegues and casual acquaintances, this mutal friendship requirement does not do much to relieve doubts. The idea of Third Party Developers does not quell fears either, especially following the news earlier this year that Facebook is willing to share with third party app developers, more information than users may be comfortable with.
Facebook users in the United States will begin seeing the improved tag suggestions over the next few weeks. To their credit, Facebook did include instructions for those users that would like to disable the tag suggestions (see below). Users can do so by accessing the Privacy Settings within their Profile. However, friends will still be able to tag you manually. As always, you will still be notified if you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, whether manually or through the enhanced tag suggestions. Thus allowing you the option to remove the tag.
If for any reason you don’t want your name to be suggested, you will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings. Just click “Customize Settings” and “Suggest photos of me to friends.” Your name will no longer be suggested in photo tags, though friends can still tag you manually. You can learn more about this feature in our Help Center.
-Justin Mitchell, Blog Post June 7, 2011 at 12:17pm
The truth is your online reputation is at the mercy of your friends. It is the responsibility of the individual to monitor their online identity. While this has always been the case, now Facebook friends have a little less control over how they may be perceived online.
Read the official post on the Facebook Blog – http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=467145887130